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Basic Garden glossary

photo 2An old (and crotchety) family friend once told me that you only have to know three words in any one field to pass yourself off as an expert. Just “say it with authority” he instructed. So with that in mind here is a nice little list of helpful garden terms that will hopefully be informative, useful and if you want to pass yourself off as an expert you apparently only need to remember three.

Acidic soil – Any soil with a pH lower than 7.

Alkaline soil – Any soil with a pH higher than 7, often associated with hard water.

Annual – A plant that completes its life cycle in one year.

Bare-root – Dormant plants that are taken out of the ground, removed of their soil, and preserved until shipping and planting.

Biennial – A plant that completes its entire life cycle in two years, growing in the first year and reproducing and dying in the second.

To flower and produce seed prematurely. This is usually the result of excessive heat and sun exposure.

Bud union – Refers to the point at which the plant has been grafted on to a rootstock and is usually found at soil level. This is the result of a technique called ‘budding’ where the bud of one plant is grafted on to another plant.

Bulb – An underground storage organ with fleshy scale leaves from which the plant flowers and grows before becoming dormant.

Cane -The stems of a raspberry or blackberry plant. Raspberry plants are supplied as dormant canes.

Cloche – Structure made of glass, plastic or horticultural fleece placed over a plant for protection or for forcing early crops.

Cold frame – Unheated frame for growing on and acclimatizing hardy and half-hardy plants outdoors.

Companion planting – The belief that two plants growing near each other produce mutual benefits.

Compost – A mixture of decaying, organic materials (such as kitchen scraps) used for soil amending, fertilizing, and mulching.

Corm – A rounded underground storage organ, consisting of the stem base, and often with a fibrous outer layer. It is replaced by the plant annually.

Crown -The growing point of a plant from which new shoots emerge, at or just below the soil surface.

Cutting – A plant propagation method wherein a part of a plant is cut and dipped in a rooting hormone to eventually grow into a new plant.

A plant that is bred or selected by growers for unique flowers, leaf color, growing habit etc. It has distinct and uniform characteristics that differ from the original species.

Dead-head – To remove the spent blooms on a plant to encourage further flowering or to prevent self-seeding.

Deciduous – A plant that sheds its leaves each year.

Direct Sow -To sow seeds outdoors in their final positions, where you would like them to flower or crop.

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